Week of February 26
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:5
Expectations are Godly only if they are God’s expectations in us. All other expectations that reside within us are carnal and set us up for disappointment. For this reason, it is important to know the difference and to intentionally choose to set our expectations in alignment with God’s will, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead us.
In order to know God’s expectations, we must first know Him and have His perspective on all matters. This applies to individuals and groups working toward a collaborative effort. Whether in the workplace or in personal relationships, including marriages and parent-child communication, we must be on the same page in order to have unity, peace and a proper expectant outcome. After all, everyone perceives from a different point of view, based on their training, upbringing, personal experience, opinion, values and a lifetime of other differences.
God’s expectations are based on His biblical principles of truth. Therefore, we must read and understand His word and know His character. Psalm 119:104 tell us, “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” Proverbs 4:5 says, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.”
Equally important is to be persistent concerning expectation. It’s not enough to receive a revelation from the Holy Spirit and then apply our perspective. Only God sees the whole of anything and anyone, and He has more depth and richness for us beyond a single revelation. Therefore, may we beseech God for more of His understanding through prayer and choose to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and cleanse our hearts His way and in His time. Press into Him further to receive more of His revelation (Galatians 1:12).
Disputes, blame and grave disappointments often arise out of ungodly expectations or our own vain imaginations (Romans 1:12). Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” We must choose God’s thoughts above our own, lest we be deceived. Man’s facts are never God’s whole truth. We must take every rebellious thought captive, lest we fall.
Involving workgroups or relationships, vertical and horizontal communication between parties is key. And it is important to take courage to step up and speak up along the way, laying issues on the table at the outset. Shrinking back and withholding secret viewpoints and hurt feelings until the end is not meekness, but a lack of confidence in God, which is to be overcome. Root out the fear, take hold of the hand of Jesus, step up to His truth and speak up in love early on. Through Jesus, we are worthy to be heard and are worthy of expecting Father God’s finest outcome, if the motives of our hearts are right with Him.
The Holy Spirit is our perfect accountability partner, not man. He can always be trusted. He is true and has your best interest at heart. He has your back. He is for you, not just with you. And He is full of love, not selfish gain. If the spirit within you is unsettled, consult God on the matter. The Holy Spirit may speak to you directly through revelation to get you unstuck, or He may bring correction through someone to speak to you. Either way, choose maturity, and receive correction in love. Thank the Lord for lessons learned, and move on, knowing He is building a strong foundation and increasing His power within you.
Guard against carelessness. We are called to careful obedience. In the frenzy of tasks, timelines and processes, remember that sin has the potential to break fellowship and that little foxes have the capacity to do great damage. Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). God will often use the processes and relationships to show us our issues and give us an opportunity to overcome them. Be honest, repent, apologize, forgive and move on. Choose to overcome quickly. Clarity is key for moving in the right direction. So be sure to pray through the situation until you have inner peace.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, often comes to my mind concerning Godly expectation. Mary knew at the outset that she was carrying the Messiah. Being Hebrew, Mary also likely knew of the Old Testament teachings, prophecies of old that declared the Messiah’s coming and purpose. I often wonder what the words of her many prayers to the Father were and how He prepared her for the ultimate outcome of their Son’s destiny: to hang on a cross, die, descend, ascend on the third day and be seated at the right hand of the Father. What took place in her heart as her Son’s destiny played out, as she anticipated what awaited Him throughout his early years as her little child? How did she feel as she stood at the cross? How did the Father prepare her heart to receive this expectation? I believe that Father God prepared Mary and strengthened her for the Son’s crucifixion throughout her life, little by little over time, as she could receive His truth. I believe Mary knew her heavenly Father and ultimately trusted Him and believed in Him that His purpose was good and full of love. I believe that, even in her grief, she ultimately chose to not lean upon her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
We should always be moving forward stronger than where we were, even if we must learn hard lessons to achieve greater breakthrough to freedom and higher holiness.
What are God’s expectations for you? Are your expectations in line with His? How is God strengthening you along your journey to the destiny He has for you? Do you set your expectations on God’s truth? Are you aware that you are a work in progress that does not end and that God always does a work in, through and for you in every endeavor? Have you forgiven everyone who has disappointed you? Have you moved on in God’s strength and higher holiness?
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.
Originally published Sunday, 26 February 2012.